Ex-Google Workers File NLRB Complaint Over Firing for Protesting $1.2B Israeli Contract

Former Google employees file NLRB complaint, alleging unlawful firing for protesting $1.2B Israel cloud contract. Highlights growing tensions between tech workers and employers over military/government tech use.

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Nitish Verma
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Ex-Google Workers File NLRB Complaint Over Firing for Protesting $1.2B Israeli Contract

Ex-Google Workers File NLRB Complaint Over Firing for Protesting $1.2B Israeli Contract

A group of former Google employees have filed a complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging that the tech company unlawfully fired about 50 workers for protesting its $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with the Israeli government, known as Project Nimbus. The complaint claims that Google interfered with the workers' rights under U.S. labor law to advocate for better working conditions.

The workers held sit-ins at Google's offices in California and New York, alleging that the AI technology provided under the contract is being used lethally in the Gaza war, which Google denies. Google has defended the firings, stating that the workers' conduct was "completely unacceptable" and made other employees feel threatened and unsafe.

The complaint seeks to have the affected employees reinstated and to have Google cease its alleged unlawful conduct. The fired workers are seeking to be reinstated to their jobs with back pay and a statement from Google that it will not violate workers' rights to organize.

Why this matters: The case highlights the growing tension between tech workers and their employers over the use of technology for military and government purposes. It also raises questions about the limits of employee activism and the rights of workers to protest their company's business decisions.

Google initially put nine employees on administrative leave for occupying its offices in protest of Project Nimbus and then fired 28 employees in connection with the protests. Less than a week later, Google fired more than 20 other employees, some of whom said they hadn't participated in the protests at all. "This is a marked departure from the way Google has handled employee dissent in the past, with a total change in the way Google responds to employees trying to have a voice in their workplace," said a fired software engineer who claims he was retaliated against for merely watching a demonstration. The NLRB has not yet set a timeline for reviewing the case.

Key Takeaways

  • Google fired ~50 workers for protesting $1.2B Israel cloud contract
  • Fired workers filed NLRB complaint, alleging unlawful termination
  • Complaint seeks worker reinstatement and Google to cease alleged violations
  • Case highlights tension between tech workers and employers over military contracts
  • NLRB has not set timeline to review the case